The new Mini Cooper S hits the road; Ferrari goes environmental
A more powerful engine that’s more fuel-efficient in a mature drive with a frivolous amount of tech: the new Mini Cooper S is a paradox wrapped in a fanta-like shell
Don’t be fooled by the garish orange paint job, this all-new Mini Cooper S has grown up, with greater fuel efficiency and a more polished driving experience. That sound a little lacking in knockabout fun for your liking? Fear not, it still knows how to let loose, too.
Despite that improved efficiency – CO
2 emissions are cut to 133g/km with the six-speed manual gearbox and 122g/km if you go automatic – there’s a bigger engine under the bonnet. It’s a two-litre lump from BMW’s new Twin Power range, with direct injection and turbo charging, and offers more power and torque than the outgoing Cooper S’s 1.6-litre.
It’s a more mature all-round driving proposition, too. The old Mini was a bit ragged, but here there’s grip, poise and pace. It’s less manic, more controlled, but no less fun to drive. Want extra control of the feel? There’s optional active suspension that syncs with throttle, steering and engine mapping to offer three driving modes – Green, Mid and Sport – that you flick between using the rotary switch that circles the gear stick.
Take a look inside the new Mini and you’ll realise that there’s been a big tech upgrade, too. A new 8.8-inch hi-def screen sat between the driver and passenger seats makes maps look glorious, while the LED halo surrounding it (see box, right) gives it a truly futuristic look.
the old mini was a bit ragged, but here there’s grip, poise and pace
More salient driver info is shown on a heads-up display, such as speed and navigation updates. Tick the Driver Assistance box when ordering and you’ll also get smart cruise control for hassle-free motorway driving, parking assistance and collision avoidance.
The Mini Connected in-car OS has been upgraded, too, adding iPhone and Android compatibility, plus the new Journey Mate app, which includes door-to-door navigation and real-time traffic data.
So, it’s faster, more efficient, more fun and far techier than any Mini before. It’s also a much nicer place to spend time, partly thanks to the more mature dynamics, but also because the cabin has been slapped about with the quality stick. Early images of its exterior gave the impression of a slightly samey but bloated Mini with a bulbous nose, but first impressions were wrong: the new Mini Cooper S is still a true design icon. Yes, even in orange. FROM $41,700, mini.com.au, out now
Our Mini adventure began at Mallorca’s Palma Airport. We went for a punt along the local motorways heading out of town, but it wasn’t until we hit the Ma-10, a sinuous-going-on-tortuous ribbon of north-coast tarmac hugging the coastline, that we were really able to marvel at
this car’s capacity for fun.